3 Sep, 2019
With Brexit hysteria at fever pitch, an Eton College entrance exam has surfaced that some say sheds light on the elite’s thinking. Prospective students have been asked to justify the “moral” and “necessary” killing of protesters.
The word ‘democracy’ is a hotly debated one in the UK at the moment. Protesters have slammed unelected Prime Minister Boris Johnson for suspending parliament ahead of next month’s Brexit deadline, while Brexiteers have accused these protesters of doing their best to derail the result of a democratic referendum.
With Remainers denouncing Eton-educated Johnson as a private-school elitist, a question from the school’s 2011 entrance exam surfaced online on Tuesday. Some commenters say it gives a frightening insight into the thought processes of the leaders educated at Eton.
“The year is 2040,” 13-year-old boys competing for the King’s Scholarship were asked. “There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army.”
— Alan Ferrier (@alanferrier) September 1, 2019
“You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.”
The full exam question, available on the school’s website, opened with a Machiavellian discussion on “whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?”
“If you want to distill everything that most depresses you about Britain this morning, this might be it,” wrote Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr. “No wonder they turn out the politicians they do,” added another pundit.
Wow. Eton 2011. No wonder they turn out the politicians they do.
Prorogue Eton. https://t.co/z9zmcRv9xD
— Fionna O'Leary, 🕷 #FBPE (@fascinatorfun) September 3, 2019
Oh holy mother of carnage this is terrifying
— Amrou Al-Kadhi (@Glamrou) September 3, 2019
The exam question is eight years old, meaning that those who gave the most compelling arguments in favor of gunning down plebs in the streets are now embarking on promising careers. However, that it would surface now is indicative of the apprehension that some sectors of Britain feel about Brexit.
Those concerns are not enirely groundless. Leaked documents warn of food, fuel and medicine shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a situation that Johnson has said he is willing to embrace. Army reserves have been called up to quell public unrest should things go south on October 31, and even the avocado, staple of the Remainers’ middle-class diets, looks set to vanish from shelves.
Amid the fear-inducing news coverage and Twitter clamoring – some genuine, some unfounded – the exam question fit right in.
Some in the anti-Brexit camp even answered and reworded it, fitting its premise into a post-Brexit world.
No doubt it’ll start with ‘Because on 23 June 2016 people voted for it. We have to implement the will of the people.’#StopTheCoup
— David Waters (@DavidWaters4) September 3, 2019
In 2016 you voted to leave the EU.
This was the beginning of a economical disaster.
The riots of last month were an inevitable consequence of your stupid vote.
Basically what I'm saying is: It's your fault. I didn't want to do this.
My condolences to the families"
— Julius 🌍 (@JuliusStrack) September 1, 2019
The year is 2020. There have been riots on the street…..blah blah blah…..blah blah blah…..Write a script to convince the public that the actions you take will benefit them, but really will only protect the premium of your off shore hedge fund.
— Stuart Scott (@stuart_scott_) September 3, 2019
So was the task just an interesting thought exercise or first step in training tomorrow’s tyrants? Who even knows any more?